The ability to influence and persuade is a key skill for policymakers and public managers, whether it’s presenting advice to Ministers and Secretaries, influencing a group in a meeting or building support with stakeholders.
This subject provides a practical introduction to persuasion, exploring both classical and contemporary theories and ideas. It draws on the art of rhetoric and the fields of social psychology, communication and management. Students will be introduced to the key concepts and tools underpinning persuasion and learn how to influence, build rapport and trust. The use of persuasion will be explored in a range of scenarios at the individual and group level through case study analysis and practice-based tasks which will develop students’ hands-on skills.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Identify and apply theories of persuasion in a policy and public management context.
- Analyse and critique different persuasive techniques and their influence on audiences.
- Craft and present persuasive communication, both written and verbal.
- Appreciate the differences between power and influence and how these are exercised.
- Understand the key principles that underpin influence and develop effective strategies to build support.
- Case analysis of 2 - 1500 words each (40) [LO 1,2]
- Campaign brief of 2000 words (60) [LO 3,4,5]
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Contact hours: 18 hours total. This is an intensively delivered subject which runs over three full days.
Students are also be expected to undertake reading and preparation prior to the first face-to-face session. Total non-contact hours including time spent on assessment tasks = 40-50 hours.
There is no set text for the subject. The following texts are recommended for those interested in background reading.
Cialdini, R. (2009). Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. HarperCollins, US.
Lundberg, C. and Keith, W. (2018). The Essential Guide to Rhetoric. Bedford/St. Martin's, Boston.
Perloff, R. (2010). Dynamics of Persuasion: Communication and Attitudes in the Twenty-First Century, 4th edition, Routledge, New York.
Simons, H. and Jones, J (2012). Persuasion in Society, 2nd edition, Routledge, New York.
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